Many preppers consider prepping to be activities to prepare for a SHTF “Big One”. But staying safe and sound until then is also a serious part of prepping. Carjacking is an increasingly serious crime and protecting yourself from it should be part of your preps.
There are a lot more carjackings than the average person would believe. According to the Department of Justice, there are about 49,000 a year. Approximately 92% of carjackings are directed against lone drivers.
As opposed to simple auto theft, carjackings occur for a variety of reasons. It often perceived as easier due to improved auto security devices. Specific vehicles, usually expensive, are targeted for resale through chop shops. However there are more serious and dangerous reasons where the carjacker’s intentions are to rob, rape, kidnap, or murder the driver. Criminals will also carjack a vehicle when escaping the scene of a crime.
The most common victims of carjacking are elderly people, or females who are alone or who have children with them, or people who are obviously preoccupied or not alert. Parking lots in shopping areas and work places are the most frequently hit. Carjackers will also target vehicles parked in poorly lighted parking garages and streets. Traffic lights are also a favorite carjacking spot.
After a particular vehicle has been selected for carjacking, there are a number of techniques carjackers use. The “Bump and Rob” is where carjackers (usually more than one) in another vehicle will lightly rear end your vehicle in traffic. When you get out to check damage and exchange information, one of the carjackers jumps into your car and drives off. Another version of this is when the carjacker drives in front of you and then slams on his brakes causing you to run into him. Another trick is to place a large denomination bill under your windshield wiper. When you notice it and get back out of your car to retrieve it, they carjack you.
The most important tool you have to prevent being carjacked is your awareness, and developing a defensive mindset. You need to learn to live in condition yellow.
- Always park in well-lit areas.
- When approaching your vehicle, observe any strangers lurking nearby.
- Observe under your vehicle for anyone hiding there. Look in the back seat before entering the vehicle. At night, use a small flashlight to illuminate the interior of your car.
- If someone nearby is making you uneasy, trust your instincts and enter your vehicle as rapidly as you can, lock the doors and drive away. Always have your keys in hand. Avoid people asking for directions or handing out flyers.
- If the location you are at has security, consider asking them for an escort to your vehicle.
- When driving, know and avoid, if possible, high crime areas.
- Avoid driving alone, especially if you are female or elderly, and especially at night.
- Keep your doors locked and windows up.
- Avoid leaving purses or pocketbooks and other valuables in plain sight.
- When getting fuel at a gas station, lock your vehicle and take your keys with you to go inside.
- Do not stop to assist strangers in distress,(unless local law requires you to) Report the incident by cell phone.
- Try to drive in the center lane as much as possible to reduce the opportunity for a “Bump and Rob”.
- If you are in a minor fender bender, observe the occupants of the other vehicle. Signal them to follow you and drive to a location with a lot of people or to a police station before getting out of the car. Try to note down the license plate number of the other car.
- When stopped, leave at least a car and half length between you and the car in front of you. This gives you enough room to manuever to safety if an incident happens.
- When you arrive at your destination remember that this can be when you are most vulnerable if you let your guard down.
- Park in a well lighted area and as close to the front door of your destination as possible.
- If in a large parking area, consider driving around your intended parking spot to check it out.
If Involved In A Carjacking Attempt.
If, despite your best attempts to avoid being carjacked it does happen to you, there are a number of things you want to consider. If all the theif wants is your car, and doesn’t try to force you to go along, it may be best to let him have it. Thats one reason you have insurance. But if the carjacker wants to force you to go with him, or you have small children in the car, then you are going to have to fight back. Whatever you do, do not be in the car with the carjacker. If the carjacker is armed, and you are not, then run. Statistics show you have a much better chance of survival that if you get in the car with the carjacker. However, if you are armed, then consider the possibility of resistance.
The first thing you need to know are the laws of the jurisdiction you live in regarding using lethal force in self-defense. In the past, many law enforcement officials discouraged victims, especially women, from resisting attackers. This is no longer the case. Recent studies, documented by Paxton Quigley in her book “Not an Easy Target” show that women who resist do not suffer an increased risk of being seriously hurt or murdered. If you are going to carry a firearm for protection, insure that you get proper training and the proper license. Carrying a firearm in a vehicle requires a certain amount of thought and planning. You need to be able to access the firearm quickly if needed. The Wilderness Safepacker is an excellent design for carrying a firearm in a vehicle.
Carjacking is a serious and increasingly violent crime. Take the precautions necessary to insure you are not one of the statistics.